Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Ben Stiller
FILE: Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller attend the HELP HAITI benefiting The Ben Stiller Foundation and The J/P Haitian Relief Organization at the Urban Zen Center At Stephan Weiss Studio on February 11, 2011 in New York City.
Universal Pictures dropped plans Wednesday to offer the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller movie "Tower Heist" for home viewing just three weeks after opening in theaters on Nov. 4. Several theater chains had threatened to not carry the film if Universal went ahead with their plans, expressing concern about the early release leading viewers to decide they should just wait and not go see the film in theaters.
Universal was looking to try out the idea of charging more ($60 in this case) for a chance to view a movie at home far earlier than normal. Get a few friends together and it could start looking like an attractive possibility, much like pay-per-view fight nights. The plan had only called for the film to get an early home release in two cities, but apparently even that was too much for theater owners. There have already been some similar experiments to this with smaller films, but "Tower Heist" would have been the biggest example to date.
Rumors started flying last week that "Tower Heist" star Murphy might be appearing on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend. Murphy's co-star Stiller hosted the show this past Saturday, but Murphy didn't show. He hasn't made an appearance yet, but with a movie to promote and a career in attempted comeback mode, the possibility remains that he'll show up before "Tower Heist" opens next month.
Murphy allegedly held a grudge against SNL when David Spade took a shot at Murphy's flailing career... in 1989. Murphy's had a ton of success since, and time heals all wounds, so while the timeline for his appearance was off, will we get Murphy on SNL sometime soon? Murphy's representatives denied it to the New York Post, saying that "There are no plans for Eddie to appear on 'SNL' at this time, but perhaps in the future he will make a return." Another source quoted by the Post said that "He hasn't been on 'SNL' for over 25 years, it would be astonishing if he did it."
Of course, Murphy may be looking to astonish. His career has flagged recently outside of family films like the "Nutty Professor" series. He's making some big moves, including hosting next year's Academy Awards; do you think there's gas left in Murphy's comedic tank? And would you have paid 60 bucks to see this movie three weeks after its initial theatrical release?